For years, Indian mangoes have enjoyed the reputation, among food writers and gourmands, as the world’s best. But since the things were never allowed into this country, those of us who rarely left home were forced to take it on faith. The government has now allowed the forbidden fruit at last, but you still can’t taste them – unless you go to Tabla, where chef Floyd Cardoz has more or less cornered the market on Indian mangoes.
Cardoz isn’t cooking with them; on the contrary, “they’re too good to do anything with but just skin and eat,” he says. Every meal at Tabla ends with a complimentary mango, and will until Cardoz’s stockpile runs out. They arrive halved, and sliced in a crisscross pattern that makes for clean and easy eating when the skin is pushed in. These mangoes are ridiculously sweet; without even a hint of fibrousness, they melt in your mouth like candy. The ban was lifted too late to allow in the king of all mangoes, the celebrated Alphonso — although Cardoz has a couple of cases even of these squirreled away for his personal use. So if he owes you a favor, now is definitely the time to collect.